Sunday, December 3, 2017

Time for an excerpt! Wondering what went wrong between Jamie and Molly? Check out SOME of the story below...



He glared at me, his eyes flashing. “There you go again. You think your pain is the only pain that matters. You always thought that. Bree was my friend, too, Molly. And being here reminds me about our divorce, too.”
            I shook my head at him. “I’ve never claimed that my pain is the only pain that matters. Don’t say that about me.”
            “But, see, when we lost that last baby, you changed. You shut down.”
            “I didn’t shut down. I still went to work. I still helped my mom. I—”
            “Yeah, you went to work, you did your duties, but other than that, you ceased to exist. You worked overtime and took any shift they would give you. You stopped coming home until after I’d gone to bed. You stopped taking time off. You stopped talking to me. You stopped looking at me.”
            I gritted my molars together. “We were saving vacation days for our trip to Greece.”
            “Oh, come on, Molly. That’s a bullshit excuse.” Jamie shook his head bitterly. “We planned that trip when we were eighteen years old, and then when we started trying to have a family, we put it on the back burner. You turned it into a crutch, an excuse to keep you away from our house. Away from me, because it was easier to avoid me, than deal with my needs.”
            I opened my mouth, then closed it. I’d forgotten what it was like to argue with Jamie. He was irritatingly rational at times, and as an English teacher by trade, could recollect facts and dates like a human database. Very annoying.
            I had used our lofty Greece vacation dreams as an excuse to avoid being home alone with Jamie. Sometimes I went so far as to claim I pulled an extra shift, when I actually sat in a local diner drinking coffee and playing Words with Friends on my phone until I was sure he’d fallen asleep before I bothered going home. Anything to avoid the dreaded silence. The silence of a house not filled with babies. The silence of a house not filled with adopted children. The silence of a house where two adults resided in total and complete reticence. Once we gave up on trying to have a child, I found myself hard pressed to find anything to speak about at all. After all, what did one say to the person who had possession of the heart they’d not only shattered, but also still had complete ownership of? Please pass the salt didn’t quite cut it.
            “I didn’t want to deal with it,” I finally told him, using my fern to wipe under my eyes.
            After a pause, Jamie reached into his shorts pocket and pulled out a crumpled up napkin. “Here,” he said, handing it to me. “It’s clean. It’s from dinner.”
            “Thanks,” I mumbled, taking it and letting the leaves flutter to the ground.
            Jamie examined the side of my face. “You didn’t want to deal with what? With me?”
            “With any of it.” My voice sounded embarrassingly high and tinny as I fought more tears. “You, the infertility, the money we lost on IVF, the miscarriages, the medical bills, the nursery sitting upstairs, the adoption application you refused to fill out, the sadness, the disappointment, the war in Iraq, the national deficit, all of the above. I didn’t want to deal with any of it. And since I’ve never been much of a drinker or a stoner, numbing myself wasn’t an option. So I chose work. And…” I brought my eyes back to his. “I’m sorry.”
            Jamie didn’t say anything. Instead he just looked out over the water and sighed. He looked sad and tired. For the first time since I’d met him, he looked older than he actually was.
            “It’s not like you were innocent, though.” When he turned back towards me, I wiped my nose, and raised my voice. “You were every bit as guilty at using work to avoid our problems as I was. You started working summers without ever talking to me about it. And you started coaching to avoid me as much as I pulled doubles to avoid you. Sure, you were home sometimes and I avoided you, but you did the same thing to me, and you know it.”

            He frowned. “I didn’t do that to you, until after you’d started doing it to me.”